Evanston, Ill. — Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw for 246 yards and ran for a career-high 132 to lead No. 20 Nebraska to a 24 -13 victory over Northwestern on Saturday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
The Cornhuskers (4-0) remained unbeaten coming off a tight win over Oregon that vaulted them into the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since December 2014.
They lost two fumbles near the Northwestern goal line in the first half, but scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to stretch their lead from three to 11.
The Wildcats (1-3) matched their loss total from last year when they went 10-3.
Armstrong went 18 of 29, hitting Alonzo Moore with a 59-yarder in the first half and throwing a 4-yard touchdown strike to Cethan Carter that made it 17-7 early in the third after Aaron Williams intercepted Clayton Thorson’s pass in the end zone.
Terrell Newby ran for 69 yards and a touchdown. Moore had 72 yards receiving, and Nebraska finished with 556 yards in all.
Thorson threw for 249 yards and had a 42-yard touchdown run. But he also threw two interceptions and was sacked four times, bringing his Big Ten-leading total to 15.
Austin Carr had another big game for Northwestern with 109 yards receiving and a touchdown, giving him at least one scoring catch in three straight games. But a team that seemed to be getting on track with last week’s win over Duke after opening with losses to Western Michigan and Illinois State came up short against the resurgent Cornhuskers.
Nebraska drove 80 yards for a touchdown after Williams picked off Thorson in the end zone on the opening drive of the second half, with Carter’s 4-yard TD catch making it 17-7.
Northwestern answered with a 24-yard TD pass from Thorson to Carr, but Jack Mitchell’s extra-point attempt hit the left upright. The Cornhuskers then went 79 yards with Jordan Westerkamp running it in from the 10 to boost the lead to 24-13.